Home News COVID-19 Situation Kintigh: Rehab center not taking COVID-19 patients from other areas

Kintigh: Rehab center not taking COVID-19 patients from other areas

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While the state-owned New Mexico Rehabilitation Center has been designated a backup facility for COVID-19 cases in the region, as of Monday afternoon it had yet to receive any patients treated for the disease, Mayor Dennis Kintigh said.

Kintigh issued a statement Monday on the city’s Facebook page in response, the post said, to rumors that COVID-19 patients from other parts of New Mexico would be transferred here.

The mayor told the Roswell Daily Record on Tuesday that later Monday afternoon, he was in a conference call with New Mexico Secretary of Health Kathyleen Kunkel and she confirmed no patients had been transferred there.

“There are no COVID patients there, of any kind. None,” Kintigh said.

Kintigh said in his statement he had spoken with the director of the rehab hospital Saturday morning.

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“He confirmed what I had understood to be the plan. The rehab hospital was being ‘repurposed’ to serve as a POTENTIAL backup for hospitals in our area, not as a backup for other parts of the state,” the statement said.

“At this time, Eastern New Mexico Medical Center (ENMMC) has been fully capable of handling the very few local cases that have required hospitalization. I have seen the areas set aside in ENMMC and I know they are very well prepared,” Kintigh said in the statement.

“This area, every information I have is that we have had minimal numbers of individuals hospitalized, single digits,” Kintigh told the Daily Record.

The number of positive cases in Chaves County has been at 21 since Friday.

Three of the local cases do include employees of ENMMC, the hospital’s spokesperson confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

Two of the employees are self-isolating at home and one has returned to work, and other employees who had contact with those people are following protocols, ENMMC Marketing Director Brooke Linthicum said in an email.

“We are following established CDC exposure procedures for potentially exposed staff and patients,” she said. “They will continue to self-quarantine until they are symptom free and meet the recommended time frame to return to work.”